Day 2: (Jan 7) Ethiopia 🇪🇹 Cultural Tour
Bahir Dar, Gondar
….After breakfast, drive about 111 miles to Gondar; known as the “Camelot” of Africa….much more on this ancient city, tomorrow!
Nestled in the foothills of the breathtaking Semien Mountains National Park, in the northwestern part of the country, is Gondar; the 17th and 18th century capital city of Ethiopia, which was founded by Emperors Fasiladas (1632 – 1667) was home to a number of emperors, warlords, curtsies and kings, who built several Castles and Palaces around the area.
….As we drove from Bahir Dar to Gondar, we enjoyed the scenic country landscape, with a few villages in between. During the drive, we stopped to take a photo of a natural rock formation the locals call “Gods Finger.” Today is the Ethiopian Christmas Day, so we saw many groups of locals gathering in the fields near their homes to gather and socialise. The dress on Christmas Day, for many is a white outfit with a red strip, or red edging.
Given our rough night of so little sleep, and lack of food on our first night, we switched up the itinerary a little, to accommodate an early arrival to our hotel in Gondar, where we could relax, and catch up on some food and sleep. I also took time to add historical information to day one of our very full first day of site-seeing. Everything that was on our agenda for today, we can do in the morning. That, and the fact we opted out of another hike; this time in the Semien Mountains. We have arrived in these mountains. We like the new plan, and don’t feel like we will miss anything. We appreciate our guide and driver, and their ability to be flexible, and coming up with a plan B that works.
Daryl did good on the sleep thing, after we arrived at the hotel in Gondar, but I always have work to do, if there is any down-time at all. I bought plane fare for getting us out of Ethiopia and on to Egypt and around Egypt, for when we leave Ethiopia at the end of the month, so that’s progress for me.
I did not take a lot of photos today, as it was mostly wide open farmlands with the occasional cart and donkey, or young boy herding his cows. I was told a story, by our guide, who is from Gondar, as we entered the small city…Gondar got its name from a friend telling another friend where he could spend the night; since it got dark and he was tired from traveling…the friend said go just a little further over that way– “Go not Far” or “Go Yonder” he said, so the name became Gondar
Beyond the confines of the city to the north-west is another fine monument accredited to Fasiladas; a bathing palace…..Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fasilides Bath or Swimming Pool is a two-storied battlemented building placed within a rectangular pool. Water is supplied by a canal from the nearby river, but is kept empty except during Timket; the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo celebration of Epiphany.
The bathing pavilion itself stands on pier arches, and contains several rooms, which are reached by a stone bridge, part of which could be raised for defense